I love flowers but I never grew my own flowers. Having a small garden and four little boys who wanted to play in that garden definitely had something to do with it. But then we moved to a new house with trees in the garden for the boys to climb in, a dream come true.
The house used to belong to an old lady and the garden was rather neglected. With moving house for the second time in one year and still a lot of painting to do, you can imagine gardening wasn’t the first thing on my mind.
One day my mother came to visit me and gave me an egg carton filled with soil and sweet pea seeds. I put it on the window sill and didn’t think much of it. I can’t even remember watering it. When she told me to put the seedlings in the garden, I did.
When they started to flower I was surprised at how much I enjoyed growing sweet peas, even if I didn’t get many blooms. The flowers are beautiful and so delicate. I love the transparency of the petals and the way the light shines through it. They are fragile and do not last long after picking, but you have to keep cutting them to keep them flowering anyway. I had a small vase with a few stems in the kitchen all summer long and had flowers well into October!
This year I’m determined to do better and now is the time to sow! I don’t want to pretend to be an expert because I’m really not, but I will tell you how I go about it.
First, you buy seeds. There are many varieties to choose from in beautiful soft colours. I love the pale pink and dark purple ones. Experienced sweet pea lovers might prefer certain award-winning species and order their seeds from a specialist grower. I’m far from experienced so I just got my seeds from the garden centre.
Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours, this helps germination.
Take an empty cardboard egg carton and fill it with soil. Put two seeds in each dimple. The seeds have to be watered of course. Put the egg carton in a plastic bag, this works like a little glasshouse.
Plant them outside when the seedlings have two or three pairs of leaves.
Because the egg carton is biodegradable you don’t have to remove the seedlings from the carton. Just cut out the egg carton cups and plant them at the distance indicated on your packet.
Let me know if you are growing sweet peas and how you are doing!